St Helena’s Hungry Jacks

Last week, I mentioned the return of McDonald’s to the island, a significant and exciting time and we certainly got a response from you all! In an effort to not show bias towards any particular fast food chain, today’s story is about Hungry Jacks on St Helena Island. Hungry Jack was on the island in 1868. And he caused issues. The stories captured by this … Continue reading St Helena’s Hungry Jacks

The first escape from the first family

History – it’s all in the detail. When reading the stories of St Helena, I look for the small, personal or unusual details that seem out of place in the broader account. These anomalies are the windows that allow me to glimpse the untold stories of the lesser known people. Today’s example includes an escape in 1866 that was announced by two tablecloths and a … Continue reading The first escape from the first family

Superintendent, Inspector, pioneer and rescuer of shipwrecked survivors

I’ve been to Caloundra with my kids, losing ourselves for hours on the endless sandy beaches, being swallowed up by the waves as we glide and crash ourselves to shore in our best version of boogey-boarding or quietly observing the still rock pools. But I didn’t head to the pandanus tree monument in Queen of Colonies Parade at Moffatt Beach. I should have because I … Continue reading Superintendent, Inspector, pioneer and rescuer of shipwrecked survivors

Wanted: Water Police Warders

Employment opportunities 1864: Brisbane Water Police – Variety of positions Two boats’ crews, each numbering five men, including the coxswains. Report to Mr John McDonald, Inspector of the Water Police, Port of Moreton Bay Requisite personal skills:  Flexibility to work at any hour of the day or night. Be prepared to reside aboard the Prison Hulk ‘Proserpine’ at the mouth of the Brisbane River. Ability … Continue reading Wanted: Water Police Warders

A diary account of the slave trade

The role of a pioneer Water Police officer in Brisbane in the 1860’s was never highly defined I suspect. Rather, whatever situation arose on a body of water, the Water Police were asked to attend. James Aird, newly appointed Water Policeman in 1863, (and later Warder on St Helena) first showed me this in his diary. As a member of the water police he also … Continue reading A diary account of the slave trade

Whittling away the hours

If I asked you to describe a wooden inlaid box, it might not be something that you can automatically envision. Nowadays, fashioning 2000 individual pieces of timber into an aesthetically beautiful and appealing pattern atop an ornament or furnishing is not how many of us commonly spend our leisure time. But on St Helena Island, the very earliest warders created their own unique pastime to … Continue reading Whittling away the hours

3 Scottish men and a world of adventure

Only a few people knew Samuel Olson at the end of his life. They described him as a crotchety and suspicious man, stone deaf, surly and living the life of a hermit in his home in Highgate Hill, Brisbane. (1) This was a long way from his beginnings on St Helena Island. According to the 1864 census, 12,551 people lived in Brisbane, Queensland. (2) By now, Brisbane … Continue reading 3 Scottish men and a world of adventure